Is It Hot In Here?
Please, Tell Me I Have A Fever!
Maybe I'm sick! That's usually the first thought you have when you wake in the morning soaked to the skin from a night sweat. When random attacks of sweats and then chills happen throughout the day, you may be more convinced than ever that you are sick. The problem is, you feel great (maybe a little moody here and there), and the situation has been going on for quite some time.
If this has been happening to you, then you are probably one of the many menopausal women who suffer from hot flashes. Hot flashes are one of the most common effects of perimenopause and herald the advent of the transition to menopause. Generally, hot flashes last for a couple of years, but they can go on a lot longer in some women.
Can You Please Explain What A Hot Flash Is?
So, what exactly causes hot flashes? Nobody knows, exactly. The general thought is that during perimenopause, the body begins to reduce the production of estrogen and progesterone and the declining hormones cause the blood rushes, palpitations, and sweats. Other reasons may contribute to hot flashes, including the fluctuation of neurotransmitters in the brain.
The brain produces a hormone called gonadotropin hormone (GnRH) in order to force fertility when hormones are lowering production. This same hormone is responsible for regulating heat sensors in the brain. Therefore, in response to the increase production of GnRH, your body believes you are overheating. The way the body deals with overheating and cools itself is by opening blood vessels-causing sweating.
What Does A Hot Flash Feel Like? (Do You Really Want To Know?)
What does a hot flash feel like? For those who have yet to experience one, it goes something like this. Your body begins to experience sensations of heat moving up from the waist, to the chest, neck, and face. The heat is very intense and may be accompanied by feelings of faintness, nausea, or suffocating. Suddenly perspiration exudes from the entire upper body-your natural safety mechanism releasing the heat. Immediately afterward, a chill sets in from the cooling work of the sweat. Typically, a hot flash lasts only a few minutes. However, some women have to deal with them for as long as 30 minutes. They can happen very frequently throughout the day; however, they diminish to one every few hours over time.
How Long Is This Going To Go On?
Depending upon where you are in terms of perimenopausal to menopause, medications, and diet, your hot flashes may be very intense or very mild. If you transition from perimenopause to menopause very quickly, the sweating can be very profuse and worse than if it is taking longer. Hot flashes can leave you feeling exhausted and, if you have them at night, your sleep is disrupted by the event. Anxiety tends to worsen hot flashes, which leads researchers to believe that a woman can control some of the impact of hot flashes by practicing relaxation techniques.
You can help yourself through this time naturally. A change of diet, knowing the triggers that may set off a sweat, and practicing relaxation techniques may all greatly improve your situation and help you to stay a little cooler under the circumstances.
Chat with other women about common menopause symptoms and discomforts like menopausal dry skin in our menopause forum.